by Tina Allen, LMT, CPMMT, CPMT, CIMT
Updated April 2016
Massage therapists should consider adding infant massage to their repertoire.
Infant massage has been steadily gaining international popularity, and so it only makes sense that many massage therapists consider adding infant massage to their repertoire.
Babies simply love to be touched. In fact, they thrive on it and it is a crucial part of their development. Children need physical contact for healthy growth and development. Normal affectionate touching is important, however, a regular routine of infant massage can offer additional benefits to both the caregiver and child. Nurturing touch promotes physiological, neurological and psychological development and function.
What is Infant Massage?
Infant Massage is an ancient tradition of providing nurturing touch as a way of communicating and bonding with baby. Massage can help foster mutual trust and understanding between caregiver and child.
In comparison to other parts of the world, infant massage is fairly new in the United States and other western countries. The use of nurturing touch and massage can be traced back thousands of years and to various cultures around the world.
Throughout India, Africa and the South Pacific, massage is part of regular parenting practices and is handed down from generation to generation. Grandmother teaches mother, mother teaches daughter and baby receives full benefits of this loving tradition.
Benefits of Infant Massage
Clinical research has shown that massaging baby can aid in their physiological and neurological development and function, help soothe common discomforts, promote restful sleep for the infant (and in turn the caregivers), and increase healthy attachment and bonding.
Studies have shown increased weight gain, improved immune function, and myelination of nerves. All of which are needed to encourage appropriate emotional, cognitive and physical development.
Healthy, well babies can also experience a variety of behavioral and developmental improvements when they receive regular massage from their parents or caregivers. These benefits may include weight gain, neurological development and improved digestion.
In addition to the many physical benefits, massage can become a regular time for caregivers to check in with baby, alerting them to subtle changes in baby’s health, and encouraging the caregiver to communicate with baby in a language they understand – touch. If massage is a regular scheduled time of the day, it can also result in precious relaxation time for both caregiver and child. With the baby lying on their back, making eye to eye contact, they receive full focused attention that results in full communication and support. Massage enhances communication and deepens feelings of attachment between parent and baby, promoting the physical and emotional well-being of babies and young children.
How to incorporate Infant Massage into your practice
Becoming a Certified Infant Massage Teacher (CIMT) gives you the opportunity to provide families with information and hands-on lessons, so parents feel confident in providing massage for their own child. By encouraging and supporting nurturing touch you foster mutual respect, communication and understanding that lasts a lifetime.
Specially trained Certified Infant Massage Teachers (CIMTs)
Through working as a Certified Infant Massage Teacher you have the special opportunity to impact an infant and their family for a lifetime.
This professional training is for those interested in working with families by becoming a Certified Infant Massage Teacher (CIMT®). A CIMT® is not only an instructor, but also an educator who teaches the art of infant massage to parents or caregivers in the presence of their babies.
For more information visit Comprehensive Infant Massage Teacher Training Course (CIMT)
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